24 November, 2020

The Trapdoor Chronicles

Heartbreaking and shocking in equal parts, it is a book that propels us into a cathartic reading.

The Trapdoor Chronicles
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In these ironic and intertextual times, Saikat Majumdar’s novel, The Firebird, dares to bring back the scope and sprawl of colossal trag­edy. Heartbreaking and shocking in equal parts, it is a book that propels us into a cathartic reading. Set in the dying world of Calcutta’s commercial playhou­ses in the ’80s, a sense of theatre pulsates through this literary page-turner. Ten-year-old Ori’s doomed love and longing for his mother—a stage actress of great repute and splendour—deludes us into a moral slipperiness. As with all questions of morality, it is a matter of choice, impelled at first by the confused naivete of a hurting child and then becoming something darker post innocence.

Modestly put, the book is about Ori’s adolescence in an unstable home, an artist mother, the resentment and disapproval she earns from people, his consuming hatred of the stage and its catastrophic consequences. In that sense, it might be regarded as an old-fashioned bildungsroman. Ori deconstructs most things with an infallible...

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